The Story of Good King Wenceslaus

Today, Saturday, September 28th is the feast day of St. Wenceslaus. Wenceslaus I (also known as Vaclav) was born around 907 A.D. and killed on September 28, 935. Wenceslaus is usually described as being exceptionally pious and humble and as a highly-educated and intelligent young man for his time. His father was a second generation Christian and the king of Bohemia (the western two-thirds of today’s Czech Republic.) His mother, however, was a staunch pagan.

When Wenceslaus was 13, his father died. His mother then ruled as regent and persecuted the Christians. Wenceslaus had been raised by his devout, Christian grandmother, St. Ludimila. His mother, fearing her mother-in-law’s influence, promptly had her murdered. At age 18, Wenceslaus took the throne and exiled his mother. His promotion of Christianity and efforts at peace with Germany angered his nobles. They conspired against him with his younger brother and set upon with blades at the doors of a church. Wenceslaus was immediately hailed as a martyr, his tomb became a pilgrimage site, and he became venerated as the patron saint of Bohemia. The Christmas carol “Good King Wenceslaus,” written in 1853, is based on his reputation as a just and holy king.

Good King St. Wenceslaus, pray for us!

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